Orthodox Church of Ukraine to celebrate Christmas on 25 December

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine, an independent entity that cut ties with the Moscow-linked Ukrainian Orthodox Church, has approved its transition to a new religious calendar, BBC News Ukrainian reports.

According to the changes, Christmas will now be celebrated on 25 December rather on 7 January, as Orthodox churches traditionally do. Several other dates of religious significance will be shifted in the calendar. However, the changes won’t affect Easter, Trinity Sunday, and a few others.

The decision to switch to the new religious calendar was made at a bishops’ council. One bishop voted against the move, while one other abstained.

The switch should still be formally approved by the church council on 27 July 2023 that will involve laity representatives. However, Metropolitan Epiphanius of Kyiv and All Ukraine, primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has already told the BBC that the issue is considered resolved and the new calendar will come into effect on 1 September.

In February, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s council ruled that it would move to a new style of celebrating religious holidays with fixed dates.

Parishes that are not ready to take this step yet can secure a permission from their bishops to continue celebrating holidays according to the old calendar until September 2025.

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